How many times have you walked into a job interview without any experience or knowledge of the job requirements, and the interviewer is speaking another language? Probably, not very often. The same applies to breastfeeding and motherhood.
After a few weeks into breastfeeding, I quickly realized that I had a lot to still learn about breastfeeding beyond the 4-hour class I took. It turns out I’m not the only one. That is actually what put Jada Glover on her path to become a lactation consultant.
“I feel like others aren’t educated enough and they don’t have that empowerment before their baby is born. We’ve spent so much time preparing the nursery and preparing our labor plans but there’s really not a lot of preparation, or as much preparation that goes into what comes next like what happens after the baby is born,” said Jada, Lactation Mamas’ founder.
During our interview, Jada shared how pregnant women can prepare for motherhood and breastfeeding by following her three-step approach, education, preparation and support:
- Go with the Experts: There’s breastfeeding classes that you can take at the hospital or there’s online courses that are out there as well. And then, of course, there’s evidence based resources that you can be like La Leche League or Kelly Mom, those are two great, great places to learn about different breastfeeding topics.
- Stick to the Basics: I wouldn’t delve too deep into specific issues necessarily because you don’t want to overwhelm yourself with things that may never happen to you. Just to keep it positive. I would just stick to the basics of breastfeeding.
- Bring in An Expert Sooner: During a prenatal appointment, a lactation consultant offers a session to talk about the common questions and help get you prepared for when your baby arrives. “I think that’s the biggest part that moms are missing is they don’t know what to expect — When is their milk going to come in, how long the baby will feed, or should I be on the same breasts. Those common questions that we can just help educate and get you prepared for when your baby arrives. Even if it is a 60 minute session online or you know in person to be able to talk about what to expect,” said Jada.
- Build Your Tribe: Surround yourself with breastfeeding moms and look for moms support groups, mom/toddler meetups or La Leche League meetings. They recommend that moms come and ask their questions even when they’re pregnant. Being exposed to those other moms that are nursing have the experience can definitely help put you at ease during that time.
- Find the Right Practice: Pick a pediatrician that we choose as well because we need to find a pediatrician that is breastfeeding friendly and promotes breastfeeding a lot of times.
- Stock Up: You’ll spend a lot of time pumping and nursing, so you need the right supplies. Invest in a few good nursing bras, nipple butter, a Haakaa, nursing pads, nursing pillow, a good water filter, and lots of water bottles.
- Use Your Tribe. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. According to Jada, about 95% of mothers can breastfeed and produce plenty of milk for their babies. She encourages moms to get help as soon as possible because oftentimes, there are solutions to common problems or not so common problems as well. Ask a mom friend, visit a local group, or bring in an expert. A few of our favorite resources include:
- Chester County Hospital’s Mommy Wellness Network
- Chester County PA Postpartum Adjustment Group
- West Chester PA Moms
- Breastfeeding Resource Center
- The Hospital’s Lovely Lactation Line (most have one where you can call for the first year)
- Main Line Family Education
- La Leche League
- Hire a housekeeper or someone to help with chores. Trust us, you’ll thank yourself. Or if someone is coming over to visit the baby, ask them to do a chore before they can hold your little bundle of joy.
- Support yourself and give yourself grace: Never quit on a hard day, either I always try to tell the moms this because chances are tomorrow will be a lot better. Sometimes it is cluster feeding, teething, or they may just want to breastfeed more because it’s a natural thing and they’re smart.
- Ignore Mom Guilt: What’s the best way to survive those first several weeks and early months? Learn to prioritize yourself in a way where you don’t feel guilty for doing it. Studies show that mothers that are well-nourished all the way around (nutrition, exercise, taking care of their mental health) are able to take care of their babies better, and in their families.